Returning bears pose dilemma in Europe
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Returning bears pose dilemma in Europe
Quote:By Simon Sturdee

NALS (Italy) (AFP) - If Europeans go down to the woods today they might be in for a big surprise: bears. And in countries no longer used to big predators, it's no picnic.

Reintroduced in parts of western Europe in "rewilding" programmes -- in the east they never died out -- brown bears have wandered far and wide and have created antagonism with attacks on livestock.

But unlike wolves, which have also returned and have killed farm animals, bears have also been involved in isolated incidents with humans, including one in August when a man was injured in Italy.

High on the hills above Nals in Italy's Alpine northern region of South Tyrol, for example, after losing four sheep to bear attacks this year, farmer's wife Monika Windegger is worried.

"I am no fan of bears, that's for sure," she said as her husband showed AFP some bloody photos of sheep that had been mauled.

"I am scared for my kids. Going for a walk now isn't as safe as it used to be."

Male bears weigh as much as 350 kilos (770 pounds) and females 200 kilos, and can easily outrun a human. Rearing up, they stand up to seven feet (two metres) tall.

They are omnivores, eating berries and nuts as well as small and large animals -- including sheep and calves. They are capable of putting away 40 kilos of food a day in the weeks before hibernation.

"The bear is a wonderful animal but here in this populated area it can't work," local hunter Hans Gassebner, 72, whose buzzing bee hives are now surrounded by electric fence after a sweet-toothed bear wrecked them, told AFP.

"People used to come hiking here but now you hardly see anybody because they are afraid," he said.

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2014 Dec 17 18:13
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RE: Returning bears pose dilemma in Europe
I'll swap their bears for a couple million muslims.

Not in haunts of marble chill,
Temples drear where ancients trod,—
Nay, in oaks on woody hill
Lives and moves the German God.

2014 Dec 18 13:57

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